15/06/15 Borderline Personality Disorder is Shit

No, I didn’t say people WITH borderline personality disorder are shit – I save that label for the condition itself. 
You can read here what others say it’s like to live with a ‘Borderline’ – I’m still astonished at the language some professionals and academics use…
Weird, isn’t it? You wouldn’t call someone with a virus ‘a flu’ or someone with a broken leg ‘a fracture’, would you? 
Anyway – I’ve already digressed. 
A few days ago I dipped into dissociation, something I do from time to time – where my experience of the world changes radically from ‘happily engaged’ to ‘removed’. 
At these times I feel nothing – the world is distant – the world isn’t real – I’m not real. Stairs become a weird challenge. I have difficulty finding the right…at times, any words.
Fine – we’ve seen this before, it’s time to apply pills, a darkened room and loud American cop shows – not necessarily in that order. 
Only this time I was supposed to be getting on and doing something. As many of you will know, walkamile has become closely involved with the lovely people at See Me Scotland. This particular task was purely administrative. Something that I can ordinarily do standing on one…
The way our enthusiastic, skilled and imaginative team of folk has evolved means that the slack can be picked up instantly. In this case it was the, ‘whatever did we do without her in the past?’ Eleanor who picked it up and ran with it – to be perfectly honest it’s likely she’s done a much better job of it than I would have…
But that’s great – to work with a team that has that fluidity – that ability to ebb and flow as required – is fabulous. 
None judgemental support…no, scratch that…POSITIVELY judgemental support.
It made me think a bit about disability legislation and what ‘reasonable adjustments’ can be made in the workplace that goes beyond the ‘you’re well/ you’re unwell – you work/ you don’t work’ approach that many employers subscribe to. 
Perhaps there’s hope to be had there. 
The other day, while I was dissociated and drugged, the lovely Ella was involved in a car accident. 
Back at Ella’s, the phone rang a couple of times – but I followed our usual protocol of not answering it…Ella would deal with it when she got back. 
The phone rang a lot – Ella’s son answered it – it was Ella’s sister – affectionately known as Auntie Debba – who’d been trying to get through. 
She told me about the accident – how some holiday makers from Canada had mistakingly thought they’d had the right of way when turning right across a main road. 
Ella was fine, but there were concerns that she’d broken her sternum – paramedics were giving her morphine at the scene – they were going to take her to hospital – it would be good for her to see someone she knew. 
I had no words – the woman I love – I adore and cherish had been beaten up in a car accident and I had the same emotional response as if someone had told me they’d bought some cheese. 
Nothing. 
Auntie Debba quickly mobilised our lovely friend, Cecilia, who snuggled up with Ella on the side of the road with a blanket…her delightful husband Mark smiling in the background saying, ‘Ella, I know you said we should meet up soon…but….’
Auntie Debba talked Ella’s boys through what happened.
In short, she was fabulous.
With all this going on, I blindly bobbed around in my surreal world. 
With all this going on there was a universal acceptance that I wouldn’t have a great deal to offer…anyone at this point. 
I was blandly off my face on pills when Ella arrived home late that night. 
An X-ray of her sternum had proved inconclusive – that said, apparently the treatment for a bruised or a cracked breastbone (as long as it hadn’t punctured a lung) is the same. 
Lots of painkillers. 
She got a taxi home from Warwick – £50, thanks very much – apparently there were no ambulances available. He raced across the nocturnal countryside like Carlos Fandango, with little attention paid to the precious and fragile cargo he had bouncing about in the back. 
Weirdly there was no acknowledgement of her injuries or that she’d just been traumatised in a car accident. 
I wasn’t aware of her until the following morning. 
Over the next few days I returned to reality as (as predicted) Ella’s pain increased. 
The lovely thing for me was that I could be the carer I’d would have liked to have been right from the start. 
Yes, I appreciate it’s all been dazzlingly shit for the lovely Ella – her pain has been so invasive and relentless- but I’ve been delighted at the care and love I’ve been able to throw her way.
If I give it the air time, guilt has been, and can be, a crawling pernicious cancer that can stop me in my tracks. If only I could have been…if only I was…
WHY CAN’T I JUST BE FUCKING NORMAL?? 
For me, this is about self acceptance and forgiveness – which can be a bit of a wrestling match. 
It’s funny – now I’m firing on all cylinders – it’s a privilege to be supporting the lovely Ella with everything I can…
I smile as she apologises yet again….’I’m sorry Chris, but could you…?’
Even with all my guilt nonsenses, it’s my hope she can get to the point of asking me to do something for her without a hint of an apology. 
Yes, I know, I’m positively oozing hipocrisy there, but I know you’ll find it in your heart to forgive me…
And once you have forgiven me, any hot tips on how to do exactly that would be gratefully accepted. 
My lovely Ella’s on the mend – her GP has tweaked her pain control to make it all a bit more bearable. 
Shame really, I love looking after her. 
Borderline personality disorder IS shit – but, as I’ve said before, for me, like many folk with this mental malady, it doesn’t define me. 
Walk a Mile
Chris

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31/05/15 What is the meaning of this? 

A couple of days ago, Susie Boniface, under her Nom de plume, ‘Fleet Street Fox’ wrote this, er, somewhat enthusiastic piece about the Parker Family.

As you may have read this is a family who have lived beyond their means…who have too many children…who are work shy…who have let themselves down….etc…
Go back and read it. Apart from the odd jibe about Prince Edward and Dave’s storm troopers, it wouldn’t look out of place in the pages of the Daily Mail, or on the Twitter stream of Hatey Poptart (I never can remember that woman’s name).
It exudes ‘back in my day’ and, ‘You’re LUCKY, I once met a poor person from (insert impoverished country of your choice here), ‘and they didn’t complain/ they got on with their lives…
She even managed to pluck the poor squaddy who’d been blown to bits, yet still managed to run a marathon/ is in gainful employment/ does work for CHARITEEEEEEE…out of the ether…
It’s beyond parody. 
So why write this now? In this, the last bastion of the labour voter, redtop – what’s going on? 
We know that when politicians and papers give us examples of…well, anything regarding people really…they’re trying to nudge us towards the belief that this tiny sample of folk are representative of the huge cohort to which we’ve been told they belong. 
So – huge families – living off the state – feckless – workless – amoral – bastards. 
Oh, did I mention they own some THINGS? Things that you and I might own – hard working people who’ve strived, scrimped and saved to accumulate? 
Surely then, it’s right to cap benefits, to sanction folk, to talk about them as if they were Untermenschen? Although, granted, she managed to avoid saying ‘cockroach’ once. 
So, what’s an article like this doing in a notoriously left wing newspaper? 
My fear is that it’s a reflection of a, mistaken in my opinion, view that the electorate are careering towards the right – I mean, that must be the reason they didn’t vote for Red Ed, isn’t it? 
Isn’t it?
By publishing this hateful diatribe, the Mirror are saying, ‘Hey, we’re like you, oh great blue party who got voted in….we’re for hardworking people…we’re distancing ourselves from these lazy workless tossers who caused our great country to implode on itself…et fucking cetera…’ 
Are these people, the Parkers, being held up as some kind of subliminal threat? If you don’t tow the line, if you don’t do what we expect…then look, not only will your life turn to shit, but the whole country will be standing at your garden gate to berate you, just in case you hadn’t quite got the message that you’d fucked up on the American (whoops, my bad) UK dream? 
I’ve been in that position – sure, I didn’t have a zillion kids – but at no point could the abject misery of becoming homeless and applying for benefits, when you know the media is pedalling an image of you as a scrounging bastard, at no point could this be seen as an Enid fucking Blyton adventure. 
These are scary times when folk who have their flags firmly planted in the right wing camp are commenting on reports in a left wing newspaper saying, ‘FINALLY, you agree with/ understand our viewpoint…’ 
A relentless trundle to the right isn’t healthy or, as many in the Labour Party think, necessary. 
If a vacuum is left where folk feel there is no voice for them, it doesn’t necessarily mean we’ll all become UKIP voters.
Take a look at Scotland – the electorate were able to say we don’t want to be separated from the UK, but we want compassionate representation in government – the SNP filled that gap. 
Take a look here if you think they’re all raving nationalists who think that the only good Englishman is a dead one…
Our parliamentary system is driven by disagreement and disquiet – that’s the motor that made it a vibrant, fluid, at times creative, and dynamic thing. 
For this system to function well we need opposing philosophies and paradigms – not a whole bunch of folk clambering to the right of the good ship UK.
If that’s going to be the case, it’s only a matter of time before we capsize. 
Looking at the piece about the Parkers in the Mirror again…
Other than ‘He had a job once, they’ve got loads of kids and they’ve got a fancy camera,’ where’s the back story? 
Where would your head be at if all you could see was a lifetime on the minimum wage ahead of you?
What would it feel like if the Parkers were your close friends, your family…?
What would it feel like to be the Parkers?
Ok, jettison those thoughts that say, ‘I’d never get myself into this predicament in the first place.’
Try again.
What would it be like to be the Parkers? 
Payday loans? 
Did the Fleet Street Fox’s only evidence that they shopped in Waitrose come from a picture of Mr Parker carrying some of his belongings in one of their carrier bags? 
Even then, how dare they use good middle class shops (that said, Waitrose will give you free coffees in their cafe if you buy…anything really…you heard it here first, folks), they should be living, working and breathing elsewhere – they’re polluting our very existence. 
The Mirror have even got a video to accompany the story – see how the silly Parkers are duped into thinking they’re amongst friends, folk from a newspaper they felt they could trust with their plight, who might see it from their angle. 
Silly Parkers. 
What hope is there for them? 
Other than using them as some weird parody of the bogie man, who cares? 
Walk a mile in their shoes
Chris

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24/05/15 Up Periscope

Well really…you’ve just cheapened yourself with those tawdry thoughts…
Whoops, sorry, that was me taking any opportunity for a schoolboy gag…

Anyway, back to the actual story. 
Thanks to a guy – Ronnie – who’s helping with Walk a Royal Mile – I’ve discovered a thing – an app – called ‘periscope’.
This handy dandy bit of wizardry allows the user to broadcast video and audio to the world – to anyone who’ll listen really.
So what, I hear you cry. Well, first of all, this morning on my 4 mile constitutional, I was talking to…well, I was talking and they were texting onscreen…I was talking to a guy in/ from Istanbul and a bloke in France who was born 10 miles up the road from Ella’s…it was great to be sharing my walk with other folk. 
That got me thinking. When we walk that royal mile we can share it with anyone who has any manner of smart thingumy – so people who can’t make it on the day can still be a part of it.
Go and take a look – you can join me on my training rambles – if you follow me on periscope @walkamile you can see and hear some of the beauty of the Cotswolds and chat with me as I go. 

And it’s free. Well, as long as you use wi-fi or if you’ve a ridonculous amount of data on whatever contract you have.

It gives you a merry little ping whenever I start broadcasting – and I can follow you too on any walks you go on. 

This feels tailor made for walk a mile. 

Ok, I’ll stop raving now.

Walk a Mile

Chris

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24/05/15 Walk a Mile the Brand…HHHEEELLPPP!!!

For those of you who’ve been following the walkamile gig for a while, you’ll know there’s an event looming, in conjunction with See Me in Edinburgh in September.
Hopefully this’ll be the start of something altogether…more widespread.

This means a brand.

Now, personally, I don’t think I need much help on this front, since my artistic prowess is second to….er, second to….well, just second really…

I was made to do art as my craft subject at school – mainly because I wreaked havoc in metalwork and woodwork. 
I was escorted from metalwork after heating up the handles of David Tong’s (yes, that was his name) tongs in the furnace and then laughing uproariously when he threw them up in the air….

My woodwork teacher finally removed me from brandishing sharp things about in his craft room because, I think, he was tired of whacking my bottom with his home made cricket bat every time I broke a hacksaw blade.
So, as you can see from this fabulous piece of work that art is my thing. 

  
Ella has moved on from speaking to me like one would speak to a 2 year old who’s painted a picture of Daddy, a picture that a chimpanzee with any ounce of pride would throw out, to breaking the news that this product of nearly 2 minutes work is, indeed, shite. 
That’s where you guys come in. Don’t worry if your artwork doesn’t hit the same dizzying heights as mine – we’ll have someone to take your germ of an idea to make it into something shiny. 

If you’d like to submit something – there’s no prize other than the heady kudos that comes with the knowledge that a man, with the same artistic aptitude as drunk rhinoceros, appreciates your work – you can post it up on the walkamile Facebook page, or tweet it to me here @walkamileuk, or email to me at c.mcculloughyoung@yahoo.co.uk

That’s if you think your art is better than mine…

I need something by Sunday 14th of June. So, what are you waiting for? 

Well…?

Walk a Mile 

Chris

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13/05/15 Walk a Royal Mile

Whoa! Before any of you think…well, whatever you’re thinking…the Royal Mile I’m talking about is the one that goes from Edinburgh Castle down to the Scottish Parliament. 

I’m looking for people to walk with me and others to talk and share their stories. 
I’m also looking for artistic and none artistic types to come up with ideas for a walk a mile logo – don’t worry if your artistic talents are on a par with mine, we can use professional graphic designery types to tidy your work up. 
I’m also looking for volunteers to help grease the wheels to help it all run smoothly. 
I’m working with the fabulous folk at See Me Scotland to develop the whole walk a mile gig.  

 

This will start with folk walking that Royal Mile in September this year. 
And you’re all invited. Yes, you…even you…everyone. 
Ok, I’ve got a terrible confession to make. I know I’m in safe company here *looks fertively left and right – checks under the bed* so I’ll tell you…
The Royal Mile…well…isn’t… No, no, it’s not that – I’ve got no idea if it’s Royal or not…
No…
The shock-horror news is that it isn’t a mile. 
Apparently it’s a mere 0.89 miles. But I know that information’s safe with you…
It’s just that ‘Walk 0.89 miles in my shoes’ felt significantly less catchy. 
The aim is to get people to undertake this ramble with someone from another walk of life – we’re particularly interested in pairing up a vast array of healthcare/ social care professionals with the equally broad group of folk with lived experiences who may or may not have used services. 
My main reason for starting here is that, over my years of pillocking about in the world of social media, I’ve noticed that there are many divisions. 
People seem to operate in silos. You have your professional silos – your nursing silos – social work – doctor – psychiatrist – professionals allied to medicine silos:
And then you have your punter silos – your service users – your people with lived experience silos – your *insert any mental health malady you can think of* silos…
In my experience there’s not a huge amount of cross pollination between these groups. 
My feeling is that where there is a lack of social experience – virtual or otherwise – there is scope for the insidious tendrils of ignorance, prejudice and stigma to encroach…yes, on and from both sides. 
Our brains are fabulous. Where we lack knowledge/ perceptual information they perform a pretty groovy trick called ‘completion’.
For example, if we are briefly shown a familiar shape – but with part of it removed – we will perceive a complete shape – our brains fill it in. 
Pretty funky, eh?
We do the same with all our experiences of the world – which serves us pretty well.
However, at times, and with very little evidence, our wonderful minds will come with a pile of old ballcocks. 
Ballcocks that we’ll reinforce with any ‘evidence’ we find about the place, including the interweb. 
Walking a mile – sharing stories and experiences – will provide a starting point for change. 
For those of you who’ve been following this merry ramble, you’ll know that I’ve met all kinds of folk from all kinds of places, all of whom have one thing in common.
They’re fabulous. 
The vast majority of people are fabulous. 
Which, obviously means, you’re fabulous. 
We’re – See Me are funding this and more – setting up a website where people can share their experiences of this walk and hopefully others – anonymously or otherwise.
Folk can do this with photos, blogs, photos, stories, poems, podcasts, songs, videos…anything that can be digitised and launched up into the walkamile ether. 
My hope too is to enable folk to walk virtually too. If folk are housebound they can link up with others using Skype or any other black magic wizardry the interweb has to offer. 
I’ll be following this up with a definite date soon – but it’ll in early September…
If you want to be involved in any way shape or form, and/ or if you have any ideas about all this,  you can contact me in a variety of ways
Email 
c.mcculloughyoung@yahoo.co.uk
Phone 
07535035909
Facebook
I’m the only Chris McCullough Young in the world – so that’s easy – alternatively you can contact me via the walk a mile group here 
Or via Twitter here 
@walkamileuk
I’ll give you the name/ address of the website as soon as that emerges. 
I’ve got to say I’m rather excited about all this.
Walk a mile 
Chris 
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09/05/15 The “Aye Right’s” have it. 

‘Aye right’ is one of my favourite Scottish turns of phrase. It means ‘Is that so?’ with one eyebrow raised…

Bluntly, it means, ‘I think you’re talking ballcocks’

Back in 2010, there were 45,597,461 registered voters on the UK Parliamentary register for the general election.
Since I can’t find the 2015 figures, I’m sure you’ll forgive me for relying on those figures for the purposes of…
That said, we know that this election has seen the greatest turnout of voters since 1997. 
67%, or two thirds, of folk who were eligible put their cross on a ballot sheet, ensuring their place in history for austerity, whoops, my bad, posterity….
The stats show that, much to everyone’s surprise, the Conservatives crashed through the 300 odd seats required to give them the 51% majority in the Commons. 
Fabulous – this is democracy in action. 

That said, they got 37% of the votes…which is only a little more than a third…

No matter, we bought into this first past the post system – that’s the way it works…it just is…


No matter – just over 10 million people voted to ensure that Mr Cameron wouldn’t have to get the movers in. 

10 million – that’s loads of folk – surely that gives the conservatives a mandate to do what the fuck they like over the next 5 years? 

Ah, well, you’d think that…but here’s the section I’d like to call FUN WITH MATHS!

No, you’re probably right, but bear with me. 

So, 10 million, I think we’re agreed is a great big number. 

However, if we look at the We Didn’t Vote because *insert your own reason here* Party, we find they make up a third of people who were eligible to vote…

Which, according to my maths, accounts for 15 million people…

Hold on a second! So, the party that has the balance of power in the House of Commons got 5 million fewer (none) votes than those who didn’t…vote, that is. 

It’s more than a little weird that a country that flogs democracy anywhere in the world they can wave a flag, can’t sell it to a third of their own folk. 
Sure, blame the none voters – dangle the fate of the Tollpuddle Martyrs and the Suffragets over them…I mean, how could they?
In parliament, MP’s don’t have to take any one side in a debate – their right to abstain means they don’t have to affiliate with the Ayes or Noes without fear of derision. Their action – or inaction – is seen as equally valid. 
So why can’t we indulge our none voters in the same way? 
To my mind, this screams there’s a fucking huge vacuum in British politics. A rich vein of folk – every bit as valuable as you and I who, for whatever reason – disenfranchisement – the inability of those who’d call themselves leaders to connect with them – who knows, didn’t vote.
The reason we don’t know is because we haven’t asked them – and, as ever, if we don’t know, our minds will happily fill that gap with what? 
Prejudice. 
15 million people! 
The next time someone tells you the Tories have an unequivocal mandate…
Or that the 2015 election is a great example of democracy in action…
Or that we shouldn’t bother, there’s no hope…
Just tell them, “The Aye Right’s have it”
Walk a mile
Chris
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20/04/15 Don’t feed the animals

People are fabulous. Almost – and that’s a tiny ‘almost’, so small as to be negligible and not worth my attention, everyone I’ve ever met has been great – kind – compassionate – hospitable – trusting and trustworthy. 

Recently, a Super Sensational Soaraway Sun columnist, let’s call her, ‘Hatey Poptart’, has been writing hateful stuff about immigrants from Africa trying to make their way across to Europe on any manner of vessel, some of which have not been up to the job – with desperately tragic results. 
Flakey Foreskin has also written endlessly across Twitter, social media, any outlet that’s willing to have her, pedalling hatred of the unemployed, the overweight and, a personal favourite of mine, your average loony.
I’m delighted to wear this hat-trick of hate like a badge – to be targeted by her keyboard of contempt, hey, it really talks to me, you know?
Like many who bob around in a more left of centre part of the interweb and social media, I have chosen not to fan the flames of her ill thought through vitriol. 
However, for many the mention of turning gunships on migrants was a rant too far.
As I write, campaigns have sprung up demanding her removal as a writer for Britains best selling red top. 
I’m afraid, though, that this breaking from the cover of silence of the many who’d been doing their best to ignore her all these years, will have the opposite effect. 
By shouting ‘Enough!’ the masses, I believe, have shown her the level on the hate-o-meter that’s required for her antagonism to go viral amongst the more liberally minded. 
The same folk who stand by the oft quoted phrase from Voltaire’s biography by 

Evelyn Beatrice Hall

  “I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it” 

I’m not sure if she had these circumstances in mind when she wrote this – but I think her words are as right today as they were in the early 20th century. 

Although, that said, it’s a little trite to stop there. 

Does Hatey Foreskin mean any/ everything she writes? Is this merely part of vitriolic bollocks PLC? 

Is this purely her way of turning a buck? 

Who knows? 

One thing I do know, by reacting with righteous indignation, we are feeding this particular beast with the only meal she seems to understand – publicity. 

Alternatively, she might really see the world in this way. 

In that case, she and I find ourselves on opposite ends of a continuum. 

Do I hate her? Do I despise her?

No.

I don’t know her.

I dislike what she writes, and, as I said earlier, I can only guess at her motivation. 

Does she think people, who are different from her in any way, warrant the daily attacks she launches from her James Bond bad guy island?

If that’s the case, in my opinion, that’s a horribly skewed filter she’s using to gaze upon something that’s rather wonderful. 
People are fabulous. That’s my skewed filter of choice. 
Why someone would court hatred in such a way is beyond me – but it screams pain. 
Was she, is she so isolated from people that she needs to build this massive barrier of FUCK OFF to keep them out?
Did her, well publicised, epilepsy galvanise a belief in her that she must be responsible for herself – that reliance on others is a sign of weakness – something she perhaps despises in herself – create a world that she has to keep at a distance?
Is the world that scary – that repugnant – to her? 
Is she unable to see the potential and actual impact of her words on the people who inhabit the many vulnerable groups she attacks? 
How can we…how do we put ourselves in the shoes of someone who’s beliefs seem so at odds to our own? 
These are words – nothing more – nothing less. 
Remember Charlie Hebdo? 
Je suis Katie Hopkins
Well, not really, but you get my meaning…
Walk a Mile
Chris
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